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1.2 Basic principles of CFD

1.3 Stages in a CFD simulation

1.4 Fluid-flow equations

1.5 The main discretisation methods

Appendices

Examples

and numerical methods to solve problems involving fluid flow.

CFD has been successfully applied in many areas of fluid mechanics. These include

aerodynamics of cars and aircraft, hydrodynamics of ships, flow through pumps and turbines,

combustion and heat transfer, chemical engineering. Applications in civil engineering include

wind loading, vibration of structures, wind and wave energy, ventilation, fire, explosion

hazards, dispersion of pollution, wave loading on coastal and offshore structures, hydraulic

structures such as weirs and spillways, sediment transport. More specialist CFD applications

include ocean currents, weather forecasting, plasma physics, blood flow, heat transfer around

electronic circuitry.

This range of applications is very broad and involves many different fluid phenomena. In

particular, the CFD techniques used for high-speed aerodynamics (where compressibility is

significant, but viscous and turbulent effects are often unimportant) are very different from

those used to solve the incompressible, turbulent flows typical of mechanical and civil

engineering.

Although many elements of this course are widely applicable, the focus will be on simulating

viscous, incompressible flow by the finite-volume method.

1.2 Basic Principles of CFD

points is called discretisation.

curve approximation

variables (, u, v, w, p, ) are

approximated by their values at a finite

number of nodes.

f

(2) The equations of motion are discretised:

(continuous) (discrete) 2 df f f f

2 1

dx x x2 x1

f

1

x

x

(3) The resulting system of algebraic equations is solved to give values at the nodes.

Pre-processing:

formulate problem (geometry, equations, boundary conditions);

construct a computational mesh (set of control volumes).

Solving:

discretise the governing equations;

solve the resulting algebraic equations.

Post-processing:

analyse results (calculate derived quantities: forces, flow rates, ... );

visualise (graphs and plots).

1.4 Fluid-Flow Equations

The equations of fluid flow are based on fundamental physical conservation principles:

mass: change of mass = 0

momentum: change of momentum = force time

energy: change of energy = work + heat

In fluid flow these are usually expressed as rate equations; i.e. rate of change =

Additional equations may apply for non-homogeneous fluids (e.g. multiple phases or

dissolved chemicals).

mathematically as either:

integral (control-volume) equations;

differential equations.

(mass, momentum, energy, ) is changed within a finite

region of space (control volume).

For a control volume the balance of any physical quantity over an interval of time is

CHANGE = (IN OUT) + CREATED

In fluid mechanics this is usually expressed in rate form by dividing by the time interval (and

transferring net transfer through the boundary to the LHS); regarding outward as positive:

RATE OF CHANGE NET FLUX SOURCE

inside V (1)

inside V throughboundaryof V

advection1 movement with the flow;

diffusion net transport by random molecular or turbulent motion.

throughboundaryof V inside V (2)

inside V

This is a generic equation, irrespective of whether the quantity is mass, momentum, chemical

content, etc. Thus, instead of lots of different equations we can consider (Section 4) the

numerical solution of a generic scalar-transport equation.

The finite-volume method, which is the subject of this course, is based on approximating

these control-volume equations.

1

Some authors but not this one prefer the term convection to advection. This author prefers convection to be

reserved for the transport of heat.

1.4.2 Differential Equations

In regions without shocks, interfaces or other discontinuities, the fluid-flow equations can

also be written in equivalent differential forms. These describe what is going on at a point

rather than over a whole control volume. Mathematically, they can be derived by making the

control volumes infinitesimally small (Section 2). As we shall see, there are different ways of

writing these differential equations.

Finite-difference methods are based on the direct approximation of a differential form of the

governing equations.

i,j+1

(i) Finite-Difference Method

i-1,j i,j i+1,j

Discretise the governing differential equations; e.g. for mass:

u v ui 1, j ui 1, j vi , j 1 vi , j 1

0 i,j-1

x y 2x 2y

Discretise the governing integral (control-volume) equations; e.g. uw ue

net mass outflow (uA) e (uA) w (vA) n (vA) s 0

vs

Express the solution as a weighted sum of shape functions S(x); e.g. for velocity:

u (x) u S (x)

Substitute into some form of the governing equations and solve for the coefficients (aka

degrees of freedom or weights) u.

it has considerable geometric flexibility;

general-purpose software can be used for a wide variety of physical problems.

it rigorously enforces conservation;

it is flexible in terms of both geometry and fluid phenomena;

it is directly relatable to physical quantities (mass flux, etc.).

In the finite-volume method ...

or cells called a computational mesh or grid.

approximated in terms of values at nodes to form a set of

algebraic equations.

APPENDICES

A1. Notation

Position/time:

x (x, y, z) or (x1, x2, x3) position; (z is usually vertical when gravity is important)

t time

Field variables:

u (u, v, w) or (u1, u2, u3) velocity

p pressure

(p patm is gauge pressure; p* = p + gz is piezometric pressure)

T temperature

concentration (amount per unit mass or per unit volume)

Fluid properties:

density

dynamic viscosity

( / is the kinematic viscosity)

diffusivity

A2. Hydrostatics

At rest, pressure forces balance weight. This hydrostatic relation can be written

dp

p gz or g (3)

dz

The same equation also holds in a moving fluid if there is no vertical acceleration, or, as an

approximation, if vertical acceleration is much smaller than g.

( p gz) 0

or

p* p gz constant (4)

p* is the piezometric pressure, combining the effects of pressure and gravity. For a constant-

density flow without a free surface, gravitational forces can be eliminated entirely from the

equations by working with the piezometric pressure.

state. The most common is the ideal gas law:

p RT , R R0 /m (5)

where R0 is the universal gas constant, m is the molar mass and T is the absolute temperature.

For ideal gases, temperature is related to internal energy e or enthalpy h (per unit mass) by

e cv T (6)

h c pT (7)

where cv and cp are specific heat capacities at constant volume and constant pressure.

Examples

The following simple examples develop the control-volume notation to be used in the rest of

the course.

Q1.

Water (density 1000 kg m3) flows at o

45

2 m s1 through a circular pipe of

10 cm

2 m/s

diameter 10 cm. What is the mass flux C

S1 S2

across the surfaces S1 and S2?

Q2.

D=10 cm A water jet strikes normal to a fixed plate as shown.

Compute the force F required to hold the plate fixed.

F

u=8 m/s

Q3.

An explosion releases 2 kg of a toxic gas into a room of dimensions 30 m 8 m 5 m.

Assuming the room air to be well-mixed and to be vented at a speed of 0.5 m s1 through an

aperture of 6 m2, calculate:

(a) the initial concentration of gas in ppm by mass;

(b) the time taken to reach a safe concentration of 1 ppm.

(Take the density of air as 1.2 kg m3.)

Q4.

A burst pipe at a factory causes a chemical to seep into a river at a rate of 2.5 kg hr1. The

river is 5 m wide, 2 m deep and flows at 0.3 m s1. What is the average concentration of the

chemical (in kg m3) downstream of the spill?

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